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The Basics of Buying Land: What You Need to Know


When many people think about buying land, they think about discovering a plot in the countryside, or a spot in a busy town they can call their own.

There are many TV programmes shown where people have bought land and then built their own homes in a matter of months, and so for some, it’s a romantic ideal. For others, it’s a solution to the problem of finding somewhere completely perfect to live.

Of course, finding and buying land can be a wonderful thing to do, but there are some things you will need to know.

Here are the things you should take into account, based on our years of expertise working with clients in the London area.

Why are you buying the land?

Buying land could be a solution to the problem of where to live, providing somewhere for you to fulfil your long-held dream of building your own perfect home.

But what is it that you want to achieve? Are you buying land purely as an investment, or do you want to build on it, and live there, or build on it and sell it? The reason we ask is that this could shape where, and when you buy land.

Will building permission be granted?

Let’s suppose you know you want to buy land to build a new home for you and your family. You’ll be living the dream – a row of beans in the garden, a workshop in which to mend and build, and a garden where the children can play safely, and you can relax during the warmer evenings.

So, now think about location. It might be that you want to purchase land in a specific part of a town or village, but how likely is it that you will get permission to build what you want? Does the area come under any local authority restraints?

Councils have local plans they have to put together and these form how an area is expected to grow. If your land lies in a specific area, you may not get the green light. So, it’s important you do your research into the area before settling on a location.

Do you have a plan?

It’s a basic necessity to have a plan, and this must include timings and budgets and doing all the research that will be needed. While it should include everything you need to acquire the land, such as solicitors and agents, it should also have an end game.

If you’re building a house, ideally you should have a date for when you finally move in. If you’re thinking about selling it on, have a plan for that from the outset.

Your first plan doesn’t have to include all the small details, but it should give you a map of where you’re headed.

Always build relationships

This really is a must. You’re going to need to build a rapport with your local council, highway authorities, planners, estate agents, neighbours, and even entire communities, depending on the size of your project.

There’s a lot of effort needed when buying land, and much of it is about talking to people and finding solutions for any issues that may arise. You have to be strong-minded of course, and dedicated, but sometimes it might be about compromise in order to reach your goal.

You’ll need to do your research and find out who will have a potential effect on what you’re doing. Work out how best to get in touch with them and do it – it’ll pay off in the end.

Trust the experts

You may have some past experience, but you must expect that you will need the wider experience and expertise of the professionals. For example, here at Properly we have extensive knowledge of property, locations, brownfield and potential greenfield sites, and we know all about prices.

A solicitor who has experience in land transactions should be used when you acquire land, and you’re going to need the services of surveyors and those with technical know-how.

Ask for recommendations, search online for professionals who will do a good job, and, perhaps most importantly, take the advice on board.

Call us at 0207 459 4400 if you would like more information on purchasing land or would like to learn more about the distinctions between greenfield and brownfield sites. We will be happy to share our knowledge and experience with you.